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Virus surge through North Dakota leads to more case records; 1st case of rare condition reported

Virus surge through North Dakota leads to more case records; 1st case of rare condition reported

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As the coronavirus continues to surge through North Dakota this fall, its spread shattered a number of case records Friday as 1,764 more residents tested positive.

Meanwhile, the state reported the first case of a rare condition associated with COVID-19 in children.

The all-time high for new cases in a single day boosted the number of active cases by 590 to 9,814, more than at any other time during the course of the pandemic. Active cases have climbed by more than 1,400 in the first week of November alone, according to figures provided in daily reports from the North Dakota Department of Health.

The state said that 17 more residents have died with COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 613. Death certificate filings can take up to 10 days under state law, so the deaths reported Friday did not necessarily happen that day or the day before.

State data, however, shows that 54 deaths have occurred since the beginning of the month.

The North Dakotans whose deaths were reported Friday include four Burleigh County residents in their 60s, 70s and 80s. The rest lived in Cass, Dickey, LaMoure, Walsh, Wells and Ward counties.

Ward County had the largest number of deaths, five, and virus cases have ticked up there significantly in recent weeks. The county is home to Minot.

Of the new cases reported Friday, Ward and Grand Forks counties reported the highest numbers at 310 and 336, respectively. They were followed by Burleigh County at 242 and Cass County, home to Fargo, at 239. Morton County had 61 new cases.

Burleigh led the state in active cases with 1,448. Morton had 497. Combined, the two counties set pandemic highs for new and active cases.

More North Dakotans than ever before were tested for COVID-19 in Friday's data, which reflects tests processed in labs Thursday. The data includes the results of 12,195 tests, for a daily positivity rate of 15.57% as calculated by the state.

The health department also reported a new high for COVID-19 hospitalizations at 238, an increase of seven over the previous day, adding to an already taxed health care system.

State data on Friday showed that in Bismarck, Sanford Health had no staffed intensive care unit beds available and CHI St. Alexius Health had one. Sanford had one staffed non-ICU bed and St. Alexius had 10. Statewide, 10 ICU beds and 169 non-ICU beds were open.

First inflammatory condition

A child has been released from the hospital after developing a rare inflammatory condition related to COVID-19, the first such case to appear in North Dakota, according to the health department.

The child developed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, which can cause body parts to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs.

Nationwide, 1,163 cases have been reported since the start of the pandemic, and 20 children have died from it, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The syndrome has been detected in people ages 1 to 20, though most cases occur between the ages of 1 and 14.

The health department on Friday did not release any information about the child, such as gender, age or location, but said the child is resting at home.

The syndrome can begin weeks after a child is infected or exposed to someone with COVID-19, said Dr. Joan Connell, field medical officer and pediatrician for the health department. Its cause is unknown, but many cases have developed in children after they tested positive for COVID-19 or were around someone who had contracted the virus.

Symptoms include persistent fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and fatigue. Parents who believe their child has symptoms should contact a health care provider and seek emergency care if their child has trouble breathing, pain or pressure in their chest that won't go away, confusion, is unable to wake up or stay awake, has blueish lips or face or has severe abdominal pain.

Connell said the best way to prevent a child from developing the syndrome is to avoid exposure to the coronavirus.

Risk levels

Burleigh, Morton and 31 other North Dakota counties are in the orange "high risk" level on the state's five-level color-coded system; 20 are in the yellow "moderate risk" level; none are in the green "low risk" or blue "new normal" levels.

The risk level determines what sort of coronavirus-related protocols are in place under the ND Smart Restart Plan for everything from businesses to family gatherings. The guidelines are not enforced. The state reviews the county levels weekly.

The state's COVID-19 Smart Restart County Analysis data dashboard can be accessed at www.health.nd.gov/healthmetrics. Information on COVID-19 in K-12 schools is at https://www.health.nd.gov/k-12-school-dashboard. For more detailed information on coronavirus in North Dakota, go to health.nd.gov/coronavirus.

Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or blake.nicholson@bismarcktribune.com.

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